Yo-Yo Ma, Kathryn Stott - Songs from the Arc of Life (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz
Artist: Yo-Yo Ma, Kathryn Stott
Title: Songs from the Arc of Life
Label: © Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Recorded: March 28, 30 & 31, 2015 at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott create a unique classical music experience with their new Sony Classical recording Songs from the Arc of Life available September 18, 2015. This all-new recording also celebrates thirty years of friendship and collaboration in concerts and recordings for Ma and Stott. The album includes pieces they have frequently performed but never recorded, as well as a handful of discoveries.
"I like to think of Songs from the Arc of Life as an invitation to our audience to remember and imagine what the soundtracks of their lives might be," Yo-Yo Ma says. "Kathy and I have talked for years about recording an album of music we absolutely love, pieces that express the context of a life, of our lives. Childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, old age: what do they sound like?"
"I love this title," Stott says, "the 'Arc of Life' – because it is one big arc. Once we arrived at the idea, we began to see a beautiful story, a journey through life's experiences. It has taken us a long time and much discussion, back and forth, to discover what that journey might be, because everyone's journey is slightly different."
Songs from the Arc of Life begins and ends with two, much-beloved settings of the traditional "Ave Maria," opening with the soaring, radiant Bach/Gounod arrangement and closing with Schubert's more serene, contemplative version.
In between is a remarkable spectrum of music that includes such enduring favorites as Brahms' "Lullaby," Dvorak's "Songs My Mother Taught Me," Elgar's "Salut d'amour," Gade's "Jalousie" and Saint-Saens' "The Swan," as well as richly evocative works by Debussy, Delius, Faure, Gershwin, Grieg, Kriesler, Messaien, Schumann, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky. Ma and Stott also include a haunting piece by the contemporary composer Giovanni Sollima, a friend and colleague of both artists.
In addition to beginning his fourth decade of collaboration with Stott, Yo-Yo Ma is celebrating a milestone birthday this year. "Turning sixty has me wondering what the future might bring, but also reflecting on what has passed," Ma says. "Kathy and I have known one another since we were in our twenties. We have a shared performing history and thousands of conversations and experiences and we're delighted, through Songs from the Arc of Life, to share them with you."
Here's a recording that amply demonstrates why Yo-Yo Ma has reached perhaps a wider public than any other serious classical musician. Over the course of his career he has vastly expanded the classical repertory while still staying true to its core. There has been a profound idealism, a high-mindedness, to what he does, combined with an ability to reach ordinary listeners that the greats of the past often mastered, but that is a rare commodity these days. He has rarely recorded short crowd-pleasers and it is typical of his genius that now, when he does so, he does it in an entirely compelling way. The core of the program consists of well-loved classical tunes, including one of the best-loved of all, the Bach-Gounod Ave Maria. But Ma varies the concept in two ways. The first has to do with the explicit program, depicting the "arc of life." The pieces proceed from childhood to youth, adulthood, and finally "beau soir" and death, and the whole thing is nicely explored in the notes in the form of a conversation between Ma and his longtime accompanist Kathryn Stott. They make these rather generic pieces seem like the most personal thing in the world. Then, on top of this, Ma and Stott pick some pieces that aren't common encores at all, such as the "Louange à l'éternité de Jésus," from the Quartet for the end of time. These are exceptionally well chosen to modulate the moods of the arc of life, and by the final group of pieces even the skeptical may well find themselves hypnotized. Throw in superb sound from perhaps the premier American recording venue, Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts, and you have an exceptional package that should rightly put Ma and Stott back at the top of the charts. --AllMusic Review by James Manheim
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750), Charles Gounod (1818–1893)
1. Ave Maria 02:43
Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)
2. Lullaby (Wiegenlied, Op. 49, No. 4) 01:50
Antonín Dvorák (1841–1904)
3. Songs My Mother Taught Me (from Gypsy Songs, Op. 55, No. 4) 01:57
Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924)
4. Papillon (Butterfly), Op. 77 02:49
Jacob Gade (1879-1963)
5. Tango Jalousie 03:42
Robert Schumann (1810–1856)
6. Five Pieces in the Popular Style : I. Vanitas vanitatum 03:03
Jean Sibelius (1865–1957)
7. Was it a Dream?, Op. 37, No. 4 02:17
Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924)
8. Après un rêve, Op. 7, No. 1 02:40
Edward Elgar (1857–1934)
9. Salut d'Amour, Op. 12 02:45
George Gershwin (1898–1937)
10. Prelude No. 1 (From Three Preludes) 01:51
Frederick Delius (1862–1934)
11. Romance for Cello and Piano 06:25
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962)
12. La Gitana 03:33
Giovanni Sollima (1962-)
13. Il bell'Antonio, Tema III 07:35
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921)
14. The Swan (From Carnival of the Animals) 02:54
Edvard Grieg (1843–1907)
15. The Wounded Heart, Op. 34, No. 1 (From Elegiac Melodies) 02:30
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893)
16. Valse Sentimentale, Op. 51, No. 6 02:17
Olivier Messiaen (1908–1992)
17. Louange à l'Éternité de Jésus (From Quartet for the End of Time) 10:18
Claude Debussy (1862–1918)
18. Beau Soir 02:31
Franz Schubert (1797–1828)
19. Ave Maria, Op. 52, No. 6 04:15
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Kathryn Stott, piano
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